Helen Mirren's reputation as an extraordinary actor does not come without warrant. She's been in the industry for decades, and her performances over the years have been some of the most compelling in recent cinematic history. But, with the Oscar nominations fast approaching on Jan. 14, it's worth wondering: how many Oscars does Helen Mirren have?
Turns out, though the established actor has been nominated four times by the Academy, she's only taken home the golden statuette once.
In 1994, Mirren was recognized for her work in The Madness of King George and was nominated under the "Best Supporting Actress" category. The film, which was based on the real dementia that King George III experienced in his life, starred Nigel Hawthorne as the titular character, and Mirren as his wife, Queen Charlotte. Unfortunately for Mirren, a young Anna Paquin received the Oscar instead. Then in 2001, Mirren was nominated in the "Best Supporting Actress" category again for her role as Mrs. Wilson in the period crime drama, Gosford Park. This time, she lost to Marcia Gay Harden.
When The Queen premiered in October of 2006, movie-goers and critics instantly recognized an award worthy performance in Mirren — the performance of her career, even. She was The Queen, The Queen was her. The line became so blurred that Mirren disappeared from the screen, only to leave the regal and sympathetic monarch in her wake. It was a pivotal moment for Mirren, to say the least.
Not surprising to anyone really, Mirren nabbed the Oscar that year. We didn't need proof that she was a talented actor, but it was nice to watch her get the recognition she finally deserved from the Academy.
In 2009, the now Academy Award-winning actor was nominated for her work in The Last Station, under the "Best Actress" category as well. But, as fate would have it, Kate Winslet nabbed the win instead for The Reader.
Which brings us up to now. This year, Mirren has a good chance to land both a nomination and win in the "Best Actress" category for the historical drama, The Woman In Gold. But, she has some stiff competition: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) , Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) all seem to be possible contenders — and all gave spellbinding performances in their respective films.
While it's always exciting to see a young actor take home an award for their much deserved work, if the vote was up to me, I'd give it to Mirren, solely based on her performance in The Woman in Gold. Her performance was maybe more subtle and quiet than her fellow possible nominees, but was the type of careful and controlled that can only come after being in the business for so long after honing the craft for years and years.
In that way then, I suppose age does play into the case for Mirren's win. As a confrontation to the unfair sexist and ageist standards of Hollywood, Mirren's single-handedly showing the world that there's not only a space for woman in their 70s in Hollywood, but a desire.